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The Marshmallow Experiment

A older Bochur who is clean over a year (see his story here) wrote:

GYE Corp. Sunday, 26 February 2012

I heard a special thought about Teshuva that I feel is exemplified by all of you on the GuardYourEyes forum. On Yom Kippur, we read the story of Ninveh. Yona tells Ninveh that Hashem has decreed that Ninveh be overturned. The potential meaning of this was twofold. Either Ninveh repents and overturns their previous actions by doing Teshuva, or Hashem would have to literally overturn it. It was Ninveh's choice as to how this overturning would take place. Given the chance to interpret Hashem's word, Ninveh used their opportunity to overturn their ways.

Is there any greater Tshuva than that which is done by the GYE group daily? We speak of using our previously faulty faculties for positivity in Teshuva. And that's what everyone here is doing! Crying tears to counteract the times we have abused our eyesight. Feeling remorse with a broken heart to counteract our hearts leading us astray. Strengthening others who are struggling. Who has a better, more remarkable approach than these admirable warriors who replace their addiction to the illicit, with an addiction to words of beauty, an addiction to the chizuk of GYE and the closeness with Hashem that it ensures? Do you feel that connection? Sometimes it's so strong and overwhelming, enough to make us cry in love and hope - in appreciation for the power Hashem has granted us to rise above.

I was recently enlightened about an online study called the "Marshmallow Experiment" (with footage). In it, children are given a marshmallow and told that they can either eat it immediately or wait a few minutes, at which point they will receive a second one. It was fascinating, funny and interesting all at once, but mostly it's scary. The children each take their own approach to refrain from eating it immediately, and some succeed in fully waiting for the second. Some can't resist a nibble, and some swallow it right away in one bite. Scarier still, are how differently the lives of those who were able to wait turned out. These children, when interviewed at age 18, had drastically more positive lives of growth and emotional health in many areas.

We are those children. We need to refrain from that enticing nibble, knowing that the sacrifice is well worth it for the real connection that we build with Hashem, every time, as our reward. There is no greater feeling.

Motzei Yom Kippur, when the gates have closed at the end of Neila, the wonderful, free, feeling of closeness with our Creator, after days, weeks and months of our labor, makes it clear that there really just isn't any other option. There is nothing else but us and Him. And that is real Simcha.

Gmar Chasima Tova, and may we all be included in the level of Tzadik Yesod Olam.